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by the president where u.s. military participation here would end. >>> plus, a troubling turn in japan. workers are pulled from the crippled reactor complex after smoke is seen rising from two of the reactors overnight. how big a setback is this? >>> it's monday, march 21st, 2011. i'm willie geist. chuck and savannah are traveling with the president in south america. we will hear from them later this hour. >>> let's get right to the run down, we begin with operation odyssey dawn in libya. punishing air strikes drove pro-gadhafi forces further from home base last night though it is unclear where gadhafi is at this hour. rebels celebrated after u.s., british and french planes demolished libyan tanks and took out air defenses. overnight the opposition said it had regained almost 40 miles of territory. colonel gadhafi appears to have escaped harm in the attack on his administration building. he has though warned of a long war and said he'd open up the government's arsenal to arm his supporters. >>> on sunday defense secretary robert gates reiterated that the u.s. has no plans to send in ground forc
clear that no u.s. boots will be on the ground in libya but how long air strikes by u.s. pilots will continue is on everyone's mind right now. those strikes, which include six more tomahawk missile strike have led to a rapid sweep of forces east to west. in the past 49 hours, rebels from taken key towns and striking at sirte, as we speak, the hometown of moammar gadhafi. nbc's chuck todd live at white house here. some of the president's critic says he should have given the speech that we're expecting tonight before the strikes began. >> reporter: well, look, there was even some debate among some supporters of the president on that very notion. but that's -- that's not going to happen. you can't turn back the clock. so the decision was made. they would wait until there was -- they were done with the u.s. portion of this. and so, it's not a mere coincidence that when the handover to nato to run this no-fly zone is taking place, that the president is going to use the occasion to both make the case for why he made this decision, number one, and number two, it's going to be valedicto
. >>> in chile, president obama tried to clarify. >> it is u.s. policy that gadhafi needs to go. >> senators on both sides of the aisle are concerned about the end game. >> if we are going into a war with libya, we should declare war on libya. we should pull together with our allies and try to figure out a plan of how that war is to be won. >> we do not have a clear diplomatic policy or a clear statement of foreign policy that is accompanying this military operation. >> there is a growing rift in the coalition over who should be in control. >> no apparent cooperation. some people want to turn it over to nato, the maiamericans and t brits. >> french president ruffled feathers by announcing publicly that french fighters were in the air before his international counterparts were briefed. whoever is in control, arizona republican senator john mccain says, there is only one way to end it. >> a stalemate is a very, very badout come. american policy is that gadhafi must go. >>> a naval facility was hit overnight east of tripoli. robert gates is in moscow. gates says gadhafi is misleading the russia
is at the white house. jim, let's begin with you in the pentagon now. what is the u.s. military saying about the report that a french jet attacked and destroyed a libyan aircraft? >> well, there were all sorts of conflicting reports from the beginning after a french pilot radioed in to the command aboard the mt. whitney, the u.s. command ship out there in the mediterranean that he had shot down a libyan war plane. at the time, u.s. officials said they could not confirm it and continued to check, but subsequently, it turns out, and again, these are still conflicting reports, that apparently this french pilot shot a libyan airplane of some kind, whether it was a war plenty, whether it was a air,r enivia ple,has tve e, it landed at misratah or was already on the ground. now, of course, what made the first reports very significant is that would have been the first libyan aircraft, military, that would have challenged this no-fly zone. because not a single helicopter or libyan war plane has been in the sky since the u.s. and coalition war planes started to enforce that no-fly zone. but also, beca
a weekend of punishing allied air attacks in libya. according to u.s. officials, coalition strikes have successfully crippled gadhafi's air defenses and a no-fly zone is effectively in place over the country. although gadhafi himself is not a target of what is being called operation odyssey dawn, one of the strikes caused extensive damage to the libyan leader's tripoli compound last night. at this hour, gadhafi's whereabouts remain unknown. he has vowed to fight a long, drawn out war with western forces. making the rounds on the sunday talk shows, admiral mike mullen stressed that the u.s. role in libya would be limited but he did not give an exact date of how long the u.s. would remain involved. >> there's no one that understands better than i that the stress and the strain that we've been under for a long time in our tenth year of war, both in iraq and in afghanistan. that said, we are within our capability and capacity to be able to execute this mission. the directions have been given to me, it is limited. it is very focused and in that regard, we're more than able, as has been shown
in libya, what's the end game, how do we get out? the role the u.s. will play from here on out and how important is it that gadhafi goes. and how did we wind up fighting in a country that even the country's own defense secretary on sunday said is not a vital u.s. interest. tonight, we'll look at what the president needs to say and the big stakes for him politically in lya if the effort for him goes bad. then we'll bring the president's speech live from the national war college here inform washington, d.c. let's begin with andrea mitch l mitchell. and of course, the huffington post's howard fineman who is an msnbc political analyst. what must the president say? here's a couple of clips. >> when someone like gadhafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives, then it's in our national interest to act. >> that was the radio address on saturday. here's what he said in south america last week about why we're there. >> our military action is in support of an international man
congress to continue to be involved. nancy pelosi said u.s. action will be strengthened by consultation with congress. last week a lot of them spoke under the democratic side were critical of president obama for not briefing congress in regards to what the mission was in libya. they feel on the democratic side more aware of what that is and want to be briefed regularly. secretary of state hillary clinton will be beyond with the foreign relations committee. they expect a lot of questions to her, but in terms of setting a precedent for the democratic party to believe in, president obama did accomplish that goal. he did not satisfy republicans at all. one interesting caveat i will say, senator john mccain, the president's opponent actually said he enjoyed hearing president obama clearly state what the policy was in libya. he remained shall we say unaware of how gadhafi would be removeed from power. he would like more information about that, but supportive of what the president's actions were there. john mccain maybe going back to the maverick style by being more supportive of president oba
up to speed on march 31st. >>> u.s. intelligence source says cia operatives are on the ground in libya today to size up rebel fighters. the source says they are not there for battlefield direction. congress asked defense secretary robert gates about the cia story a short time ago. >> do you see the use of cia and u.s. special forces in libya as following the blueprint we used in afghanistan? >> first of all, i can't speak to any cia activities, but i will tell you that the president has been quite clear that in terms of the united states' military there will be no boots on the ground. >> britain says it has not promised immunity to libya's top diplomat. foreign minister moussa koussa defected wednesday. they say this man moi be a treasure trove of information. >> reporter: it's significant for many reasons, not the least of which he was former head of intelligence. not least of which is because he was at one time a wanted figure by european security services. this is a man whose disappearance here wasn't even known by the deputy foreign minister. >> libyan rebels remain in ful
. the president talks about the operation in libya. do we hear more about the u.s. mission there? >>> the winter that would not quit. in some parts of the country, more snow and one spot nearing a spectacular record. >>> look out below. some harrowing moments for one skier who captures his ordeal on the ski slopes on camera. >>> good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. welcome to "msnbc saturday." breaking news from the front lines in libya rebels have won a major battle this morning, pushing west from benghazi, maintained control of ajdabiya. allied jets made the difference in ending the week-long battle with government forces. this is a brit tissue jet on friday bombing tanks shelling the city from the outskirts. we are in tripoli. good morning, john. i understand you have information about a disturbing incident at a hotel that's housing the international media. can you tell us what happened? >> reporter: that's right. it is a disturbing incident over breakfast. we are pretty well guarded by gadhafi security forces here. they won't let us out. but somehow this morning, a woman, her name is iman
the humanitarian crisis, protect civilians on the ground from moammar gadhafi's forces, but the u.s. position is to have moammar gadhafi leave. secretary of state hillary clinton who and on "meet the press" with gates had the following to say on that score. >> we will provide a very clear messe gaafute' soenng msapear do you really want to end up in the international criminal court? now is your time to get out of this and to help change the direction. >> reporter: so again, alex, the president is here in washington at the white house over the course of this weekend preparing for that address tomorrow 7:30 eastern time here in washington. >> mike viqueira at the white house, we'll see you again. msnbc will have live coverage of the presidential address tomorrow evening 7:30 eerng time. >>> let's go to the situation on the ground where rebel forces are breezing through cities held by gadhafi forces as recently as yesterday. the rebels now hold the oil towns of ras lanuf and are pushing westward, a bit closer to tripoli. let's go live to tripoli and jim maceda. the rebels are not facing too muc
difficulties with that connection. >>> gruesome new details about a group of rogue u.s. soldiers on trial for murdering afghan civilians. "rolling stone" magazine publishing photos taken by a tank unit who call themselves the kill team. the shocking pictures you sigh here show the soldiers posing next to their kill, allegedly innocent and defenseless afghans. m mick, the pentagon trying to keep these pictures from the light of day. what's your reaction? >> the reality here is that the u.s. military, the army, first came upon this story almost a year ago when one of the soldiers of that so-called rogue squad there in afghanistan reported the fact that some of the soldiers in the unit had allegedly killed innocent afghan civilians. and in the course of that investigation, it was army investigators who actually uncovered 4,000 photos taken by soldiers. the vast majority of them happy snaps as you would see as if you were on vacation somewhere, but there were about 100, 120 or so showing dead bodies there in afghanistan, totally against afghanistan regulation. but the most egregious part abou
will speak to the nation tonight to further explain the u.s. mission in libya. good morning, everyone. it is monday, march 28th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set, msnbc and "time" magazine senior political analyst mark halperin. you're going to be driving the week today. >> i will be doing some of that. >> national affairs editor for "new york" magazine, john heilemann and msnbc political analyst pat buchanan in the studio here this morning. i love that. >> pat in the flesh. >> you're okay after that accident. >> i hope the other people are okay. >> it doesn't sound like it. hope everyone had a good weekend. i had another trip to the e.r. what else is new? >> oh, my. >> kids. we have a lot going on today. she's fine. thanks for asking. >> you're here. >> sprained ankle. no, not me. we have a lot going on today. we talk about the president's address to the nation tonight, how the libya mission plays into the obama doctrine. i think it does. also, in the 7:00 a.m. hour we'll bring in the executive editor of "rolling stone" magazine, eric bates. "rolling stone" is out with anothe
there. and gadhafi forces have been seen retreating about 50 miles to that oil port. the u.s. says they plan to continue striking unless he pulls back. this is a huge moral boost for the rebels who now say all the way to tripoli. for the first time in weeks, forces are moving backwards. it is very difficult work. shelled repeatedly by snipers. fires killed at least 115 people including some people and children. >> thank you very much for the live report. government protestors appear to have seized there. we are joined by ron allen. ron is tracking the new developments this morning for us in syria, jordan and all of the hot spots what is unfolding right now? good morning to you, ron? >> reporter: it's a day when the dust is settling here after violent protest. the first time that has happened in many months of lower level protesting here in jordan. that is what was so stunning. at least two people were dead and hundreds wounded. >> as thousands of syrians took to the streets again. a truck down. the security forces, more than 50 people killed. in the town. the uprising. video posted
or airplanes. he stressed the u.s. is diplomatically supporting the no-fly zone, not the enforcement itself. no american troops on the ground, no american planes, no enforcement itself, that's what we know. what we don't know is a lot bigger. joining us now, eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist for "the washington post." thanks for being here. >> good evening, chris. >> what do you make of president obama's remarks on libya today? are we now at war? was that the communication? even coming away from it, i had a hard time answering that question for myself. >> when i heard the president's speech, i thought gee, we might be, and here is why. he said very clearly that as far as he's concerned and the united states is concerned, gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to lead. he forfeited the right to be president of libya, and he set these demands, gadhafi has to stop, he has to withdraw, these are not negotiable and there will be consequences. so that to me says we are going to use force to make gadhafi do what we want him to do. >> and of course, if he doesn't do what we want him to do,
are overwhelmed. >>> in sendai, japan, there are signs of recovery. u.s. marines are busy there helping to clear away cars and other debris left in the tsunami's wake. >> we've been clearing it for the past few days, so we're making good progress. >>> let's head to tokyo and nbc's lee cowan who's developing stories there. >> reporter: it all stems from the injuries to the workers we talked about yesterday, the ones that were in the basement level of unit number three. they were trying to strip a cable there. they came in contact with radioactive water and had to be taken to the water. they were actually transferred to a hospital here in tokyo today so they could monitor their condition a little more closely. the consider is that the radiation levels were so high, and the water they stepped in, some 10,000 times that it should be, that the fear is now there is some kind of leak at the reactor itself. they don't know whether it's an actual breach in the core or the pipes themselves that are leaking but something is leaking. we don't know how much or how long it's been leaking and we don't know why
operations, including ground attacks, taking over from the u.s.-led force. for more on what's happening with the rebel advance, we want to go to benghazi and richard engel. richard? >> reporter: the rebels here in eastern libya have never been stronger. they have regained in the last 24 hours all of the ground and more that they lost when gadhafi launched a counteroffensive. that counteroffensive which triggered western military intervention. after takinga ag ajdabiya yeste, there was no resistance and they were able to push about 100 miles after ajdabiya drive toward the west without any kind of resistance at all. we drove along this road and we saw on the side of the road the reason why they were able to make such an easy advance. dozens of gadhafi's armored vehicles and tanks that were completely obliterated from the sky. it has opened a corridor that the rebels are now just walking through. the rebels are concerned, however, that as there is this change of command, as nato takes more responsibility, that there will be a less aggressive military posture, a less aggressive series of a
. as of right now it appears that u.s. warplanes will still lead the more difficult mission, attacking the gadhafi ground forces. nbc's jim maceda is live. and richard engel live from the town offage agefag agfag agfafe . >>> we're getting confirmation three months plus or mys now. obviously there'll be adjustments. that mission should begin early next week. there will be dozens of planes from 28 nato countries including the two arab countries, qatar and the eub. right now nato is going to decide on sunday, no latter than tuesday on those two missions, the no-fly zone patrol obviously but also that they be caring out those air-to-ground strikes or will it keep it the way things are and have that done by the u.s.-led coalition. also the no-fly zones by the gadhafi forces. # in reality that's probably two or three fighter jets. there were air strikes, andrea, in tripoli overnight. a number of explosions. after the first time in a week they could another hear the artillery fire in the skies. also there's an ongoing war of the air waves if you will. the latest being a funeral. many of the
. is the threat to the u.s. and the world growing? murderous attacksing libyan forces answer president obama's address with a new round of attacks on civilians, according to the rebels. >>> and camelot, it's not. the new miniseries on jfk and jackie o., many historians say it's more fiction than fact. we speak to the producer 0 of the series ahead. >>> good afternoon. we begin with the disaster in japan where the prime minister says the country is in a stalts of maximum alert, this as the fukushima crisis worsens. japan officials have said they believe there's been a partial meltdown at three of the plants' six reactors, that's half. now today radioactive water has been discovered in the maintenance tunnel at the plant. in a a spatefrtepha fr l io ocns e nd ncte peltoeer he nnoced 2 etrothor nd, stonrm plonm seepifr the damaged nuclear power plant into the soil outside the facility. plutonium is years. but so far, officials claim the levels found are not harmful to human health. meanwhile, more traces of radiation have been found in the u.s., raising new concerns. today in california one of
to remove gadhafi from power using military force. instead top u.s. officials are working diplomatic channels to try and push the dictator o. hiarcltoonme t a very clear message to gadhafi, but we're also sending a message to people around him. do you really want to be a pariah? do you really want to end up in the international criminal court? now is your time to get out of this and to help change the direction. >> mike viqueira, good sunday morning to you. >> reporter: good morning action al alex. >> what else are we hearing? >> reporter: critics say there's something of a mixed message coming from the administration since the military action started a week ago yesterday. it's not only republicans, it's democrats as well. the administration on the one hand has a need to play to the arab street, but they're also now trying to play to main street here in the united states. they have emphasized all along that this is an international coalition that includes arab nations. at one point secretary clinton said we are not in the lead but clearly the united states has been in the lead. they
in libya. how big of a role will the u.s. play now? are we still in charge? and with war fatigue setting in and criticism from both sides of the aisle, when does the president fully explain what's perhaps, monday or tuesday of next week. >>> plus, fear of spreading terrorism. there were anti-government demonstrations today and in some cases violence in many arab countries, including yemen. thousands turned out calling for the ouster of a u.s. ally. if the president is overthrown, who stops al qaeda in the arabian peninsula from taking over? >>> and there are increasing concerns of spreading radiation from the crippled power plant in japan with even more people now being encouraged to get out of the area, but not ordered. how great is that danger? >>> plus, a little politics with hispanics now making up one of our every six americans and one out of every four children, by the way, how long can republicans be seen as hostile to their interests? the huge implications of the census report on the 2012 presidential election. and finally, what's the more serious candidates to do? how does anyon
but that's not part of this mission. >> and talking about the u.s.-supported u.n. mission. >> that's correct. >> talking about that. then how do you coincide the two things, protecting civilians enforcing the no-fly zone with what we see happening right now in libya, that the strikes from the air are paving the way for rebel fighters to retake ground? >> but what has happened is gadhafi with the use of helicopters and airplanes was killing his people. as well as he had threatened to go door to door to door once he got into those towns. so the way to prevent him from going door to door is to make sure those tanks and there's no other airplanes by gadhafi flying to bomb his own people. >> so here we are. we're taking action in another muslim country on a day when "rolling stone" is out with this big article with the kill team in afghanistan. jeremy morelock among others, who stands accused. in fact he's convicted of killing afghan civilians and then taking these trophy pictures of them. how much damage does this do to what we're trying to accomplish in afghanistan? >> well, it does.
understanding, as well. and how many did we drop? >> 200. >> this hour, susan rice, u.s. ambassador to the united nations, senator joe lieberman. plus, nearly 30 years to the day since white house press secretary james brady was shot during assassination attempt on president ronald reagan. gun control advocates, jim and sarah brady are here for a rare live interview. >> caught fire. shot fire. >> followup, rawhide is okay? good day, i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. president obama says that the u.s. has done its job in libya and is reallyf trade hand over control to nato but tell take longer than he has said. nbc news has learned today that the handover will not be tomorrow, more likely toward the end of the week. meanwhile, secretary of state hillary clinton is at a libya summit in london today. this morning, she met with an envoy to discuss the next steps. >> we cannot and must not attempt to impose our will on the people of libya, but we can and must stand with them as they determine their own destiny. >> today, a top nato commander said that international pressure will li
of the house of representatives are troubled that u.s. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the american people, the congress, and our troops what the mission in libya is and what america's role is in achieving that mission. what should the president do now? should he address the nation? should he meet with members of congress? all of the above? >> maybe all of the above. and i think the way boehner handled that letter was very thoughtful. he waited until the president was back on u.s. soil. as i understand the congressional briefings to date, what happened was bill burns, who's our undersecretary of state for policy briefed the senate on thursday afternoon as they were leaving town. on friday, the president convened the leadership of congress. however, it was a recess day. so most of them were hicked in te telephonically and the telephone didn't work so well. maybe he should have sent a plane to pick them up. but in any event, that briefing was not fully satisfactory. some members said, well, we're just going to be in the back of the line and we're not going to
is preparing to take over the military campaign against mullah omar el gadhafi. how big a role will the u.s. play now? are we still in charge and with war fatigue setting in and criticism coming from both sides of the aisle, president obama will explain what's at stake in libya in an address to the nation on monday evening. plus, fear of spreading terrorism there where anti-government demonstrations and in some cases violence in many arab countries today. in yemen, thousands turned out calling for the ouster of the u.s.-backed president there. if that president is overthrown, who stops al qaeda in the arabian peninsula from taking over? and there are increasing concerns of spreading radiation from that crippled nuclear power plant in japan with even more people now being encouraged, not forced, to get out of the area. how great is the danger? plus, with hispanics making up one out of every six americans and one out of every four children, how long can republicans be seen as hostile to their interests? the huge implications of the census report on the 2012 presidential election. >>> finally,
is preparing to take over the military campaign against moammar gadhafi. how big of a role will the u.s. play now? are we still in charge? and with war fatigue setting in and criticism from both sides of the aisle, when does the president fully explain what's at stake in libya for the united states? the white house will address is monday evening. >>> plus, fear of spreading terrorism. there were anti-government demonstrations today and in some cases violence in many arab countries, including yemen. thousands turned out calling for the ouster of the u.s.-backed president there. if the president is overthrown, who stops al qaeda in the arabian peninsula from taking over? >>> and there are increasing concerns of spreading radiation from that crippled nuclear power plant in japan with even more people now being encouraged, not forced, to get out of the area. how great is the danger? >>> plus with hispanics making up 1 in every 6 americans and one in every 1 ever 4 children, the huge emphasis on the 2012 election. >>> finally, how does anyone who actually believes they have a chance of winning the
. officials says the u.s. launched 15 more tomahawk missiles in the last 24 hours this around tripoli. there were also new coalition air strikes against gadhafi's artillery and tank positions, including those vowing to overtake the key rebel-held city of ajdabiya in eastern libya. u.s. officials tell nbc news the u.s. could hand over the lead role to nato as soon as tomorrow. it appears for now u.s. warplanes will lead the difficult mission of attacking gadhafi's ground forces that could threaten libyan civilians. mike viqueira joins us live from the white house. we just learned president obama should be holding a conference call with members of congress. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right. jay carney appeared in the briefing room 12 minutes and informed us the president conducted a national security council meeting on the situation in libya this morning, and starting right about now, 2:00, it was scheduled to begin. the president will be calling congressional leaders, a conference call, where he will, quote, consult with them on the situation in libya. and of course, the
this morning from a top u.s. official on the american mission in libya. nbc's david gregory asked defense secretary robert gates about our involvement in the conflict in an interview that will air on "meet the press" later this morning. >> is libya in our vital interest as a country? >> no, i don't think it's a vital interest for the united states, but we clearly have interests there, and it's a part of the region which is a vital interest for the united states. >> secretary gates joins secretary of state hillary clinton on today's "meet the press," so check your local listings for that. tomorrow, we will have live coverage of president obama's address to the nation at 7:30 p.m. eastern time. >>> and there is word from syria this morning that 12 people have been killed in violence rocking a seaside mediterranean city. the government says the victims include security forces and residents. this amateur video obtained by the "associated press" was allegedly shot on friday, in which it shows protesters trying to topple a statue of former president assad. in yemen, the president warns of a des
in on our own. we should be going in under the u.n., not the u.s. flag. we shouldn't attack a country this didn't attack us first and shouldn't have boots on the ground. from that mouth, this is sort of the perfect way to go. we go in not under the u.s. flag but under the u.n. flag. we go in on the humanitarian mission, short-term limited thing, no boots on the ground. i think that going in, he did it the right way. my big question is how long are we going to be there? what really is our mission? i think the -- it is really, really fuzzy whether it is just to protect the rebels or to get gadhafi out. we are saying both things. how much is it going to cost? it depends on how soon we get out. if we could turn this over to the french government or to somebody else, as they say they are going to, in a couple of days, get out of there, then i think this is going to be a successful operation. if it drags on and gadhafi stays in power, it is another loser. >> pat buchanan, what are the odds if we are being realistic we will be out as the president had said in a mere matter of days, turning i
: but with allies lacking the firepower to take out strategic targets, officials say the u.s. military has shouldered the bulk of the mission thus far. >> there was no question that we were leading in the first phase. >> reporter: now nato has agandf the other, more difficult task of protecting civilians on the ground. >> this operation has already saved many lives, but the danger is far from over. >> reporter: but while the allied mission aims to keep gadhafi at bay, the president's own goal goes further. >> moammar gadhafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave. >> reporter: saturday at a conservative conference in iowa, mr. obama's libya policy came under attack from republicans. >> reveals the utter lack of clarity in the president's thinking. >> reporter: in his address to the nation tomorrow, experts say the president must explain how the coalition operation helps meet the administration goal of seeing gadhafi leave power. >> we have other policy options to attain our own objectives that are separate from the u.n. mandate, and i think the president's going to have to make that
the u.s. found itself fighting in a country that even the defense secretary says is not a vital united states interest. we'll break down the challenge he faces tonight. >>> plus, there's a lot at stake in libya for president obama. is it possible that politically failure in libya hurts a lot more for the president than victory would help him? >>> when republicans thought it was safe to get back to talking about smaller government, a conference in iowa this weekend has some republicans worried the state is becoming a social conservative outpost and the wrong place to vet candidates for 2012. once again, it was people with very little chance of ever being nominated like michelle bachmann, who had all the applause lines. >>> and new lu elected governors mostly republicans, gave the voters what they asked for -- spending cuts and hope that they'd see their poll numbers move. they're moved all right, downhill. and finally, hbo's bill maher will be on "hardball" tomorrow night. we bring you what his perfect presidential kaed will look like. >>> we start in libya tonight. richard engel is in
to you at home for staying with us for the next hour as well. the u.s. handed over military operations in libya to nato today, sort of. the president of yemen offered to step down today, sort of. the government of canada was toled today, srt f, and pastte ecuin much larger area around the busted nuclear reactors today, sort of. it was a day of huge headlines, with equally huge devils in the details of all of these big stories. but we're going to start with u.s. politics, where we don't really do details. we tend to like things blunt and simple. case in point. there is a magic word in washington politics. the well earned common wisdom about this word is that if you attach this special magic word to a proposal to something the government could spend money on, doesn't matter how bad an idea it is, how many smart people think it is a stupid thing, if it has this magic word attached to it, it becomes politically invincible, can't be killed. the magic word is defense. and it is well earned common wisdom in washington that any spending that is labeled "defense" is pretty much untouchable spen
that the u.s. intervened to prevent the slaughter of civilians. before we show you more of what he had to say let's go rapid fire around the table. pat buchanan, five seconds or less, how would you characterize the president's speech? >> left more questions open than answered. >> donny deutsche? >> i thought it was fantastic. >> of course you did. >> he looked like a leader and showed power of track cattle. >> i think it was solid. and holes in others. >> i still don't get his attempts to explain it why we don't go into syria again and another country. >> that was the question left unanswered. speaking in washington last night the president insisted not taking action would have been a betrayal of who we are as americans. >> if we waited one more day, benghazi, a city nearly the size of charlotte,ed the conscience the world. it was not in our national interest to let that happen. i refused to let that happen. >> he ruled out targeting moammar gadhafi. warning that trying to oust him militarily would be a mistake as costly as the war in iraq. >> if we tried to overthrow gadhafi by force, our co
it comes to how the u.s. would get involved in, say, a syria or a yemen or pbahrain. it seems as if officials today, the whole goal of this briefing was to make sure reporters understood that libya was not a precedent for anything. >> well, it was very striking this weekend on "meet the press" to watch secretary gates and secretary clinton trying to define first from the defense secretary, defining what is in our national interests. this was gates first and then clinton. >> no, i don't think it's vital interest for the united states, but we clearly have interests there and it's a part of the region which is a vital interest for the united states. >> i think a lot of people would hear that and say that's quite striking. not in our vital interests and yet we're committing military resources to it. >> but then it wouldn't be fair to what bob just said. did hib ilibya attack us? no, they did not attack us. >> but they did have interest with our allies and our allies have been standing with the united states in afghanistan for a decade when they were not attacked. so that's the cas
with a caveat. while nato will be in charge of enforcing the no-fly zone, it is the u.s. that will take the lead when it comes to the more difficult task of planning attacks on gadhafi's ground forces. even as the dictator promoted every soldier in his army today, the man leading the american mission is staying ca hard to make it hard for gadhafi and his troops to kill its own citizens and destroy property. but that is as i described yesterday, a delicate mission. >> nbc news chief news correspondent richard engel is in benghazi. what do we make of reports that gadhafi wants to meet with the opposition? >> we've heard many reports like that. we've also heard that gadhafi wants to send 2,000 people carrying olive branchs to benghazi, and one of the rebel opposition leaders said they're worried about this. they're worried it could be a trojan horse. they don't want these people to come into the city. they don't trust gadhafi at all to hold negotiations, they don't trust him to hold a cease-fire, and frankly don't want his representatives in benghazi or even close to where the rebels are. >> what a
back to world war ii. are you ruling out u.s. military hardware assistance? >> i'm not ruling it out but i'm also not ruling it in. we're not taking anything off the table at this point. our primary military goal is to protect civilian populations and set up the no-fly zone. our primary strategic goal is for gadhafi to step down so the libyan people have an opportunity to live a decent life. >> we'll get to some of the other questions around this, including the double standard as it pertains to syria and other countries and whether or not the president should have gone to congress. first let's go around the table. pat, i'll start with you. if we arm the rebels aren't you in a sense going after gadhafi in the biggest way, which is something we were not going to do. >> you're much more openly doing what you're actually doing anyhow. >> exactly. >> you're getting into the war more deeply on the side of the folks who want to ouflt gadhafi. it will be a longer and bloodier war between gadhafi's forces and the rebels, you put all that equipment in there. it will be a real hellish mess. >>
, firing cruise missiles are american. on the one hand, the u.s. policy is articulated by the president himself is that moammar gadhafi quote/unquote must go. on the other hand, the united nations security council that's being enforced by this military action says nothing about making gadhafi go. it's protect civilians and make gadhafi pull back from aas whe h'shrtegthe civilians. so the administration is emphasizing protecting civilians and that what the president has to get through on monday night. >> okay, mike viqueira at the white house, thank you, mike. >> okay. >>> meanwhile across the region, widespread unrest. a syrian activist has released prisoners today, bit has made 200 news arrests after troops stormed the demonstratiodemonst. looking at this amateur video that surfaced on youtube on tri, it appears to show protesters in damascas. some called for president ali abdallah saleh. saleh says he is ready to step down, but only if he can leave the country in what he calls safe hands. i'm joined now by jack jacobs. if the president saleh were to leave there, to what extent would y
in the world right now. what is this one worthy of u.s. military intervention. i think if he answers those three questions, i think it will be an effective speech. >> amy, let me pose this to you. one of the challenges is he's not making this speech from the oval office but the national defense university. so i want to get a sense from you what you think the significance of that is, this location, not being at the oval office but being elsewhere. >> i think it's very significant and it's the president signaling once again we're not at war with libya. that this is a humanitarian mission. so to taking out of the oval office and to put it in other setting is to downgrade the importance of this military engagement. if you have it from the oval office, then this is a u.s. led military intervention and it sure looks like war. however, if you give this speech off-site, that, as i say, sort of downgrade as what this military intervention means. >> is itn effect too late for americans? 47% of americans support this intervention in military plan for libya. operationally, things are going pretty well
called the u.s. memory championship which involves memorizing all sorts of crazy stuff and ended up winning which really wasn't supposed to happen. >> so you put this training to use as you say winning this competition, so what were the things that they asked you to memori memorize? what were the crazy things? >> there are several events in one of these contests, one of them is memorizing a poem, one is memorizing a whole bunch of random numbers, one of my favorite events, five strangers get up on strange and essentially reel off all of this biographical information, their names, phone numbers, the names of their pets, what kind of food they like and you've got to recall as much of that as possible. >> what are the techniques that you studied? what are the tricks you were able to use to expand the use of your brain and your memory? >> it turns out there is a whole host of techniques invented 2,500 years ago in sane shent greece, same medieval scholars used to memorize entirely books which have been kind of forgotten about except they are used by the "mental athletes" to compete in t
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